In the midst of the challenging situation health workers in the country are faced with in terms of handling Ebola cases, President Ernest Koroma has commended them for the strives and sacrifices they are making to save the lives of their compatriots.
Addressing journalists at State House on Friday last week, he said the fight against the Ebola virus has not and is not easy since its outbreak in May this year.
He said the health workers have been the frontline soldiers battling the Ebola invasion albeit the limited capacity at their disposal, noting that in spite of that huge challenge they have been able to save the lives of over 200 Sierra Leoneans.
President Koroma said the Ebola virus is a new phenomenon in Sierra Leone and it requires specialist and expert handling and management of the various cases associated with it.
President Koroma noted that the figures of confirmed cases, deaths and survivors represent a mix picture, which he stated; shows that the country needs to intensify the fight even more.
The President indicated that the survivor figures so far registered demonstrates that all is not lost and that there is much hope in the horizon, and stressed the need to thank the health workers for their selfless call to national duty and the saving of the lives of their compatriots.
He therefore encouraged citizens to report early all suspected cases, emphasizing on the hope of survival. “If people who are suspected to be carrying the virus or people diagnosed and confirmed to be report for treatment early and comply with treatment procedures there is hope of them surviving,” the President spoke out.
To further allay fears and restore public confidence and trust in the national Ebola virus disease response mechanism, President Koroma revealed that his government is expecting a laboratory from South Africa to test for Ebola.
Currently, he said, there are 900 hundred Contact Tracers when the Ministry required 2000 tracers and burial teams.
He reiterated that “we need to talk openly and frankly about Ebola and commend our health workers who have been proactive in their work”.
The President recognised the swiftly intervention of the Chinese government in helping the government with medical supplies worth over $1.6 million.
He appealed to the International community for their quick response in this time of crisis in the country. The President highlighted the support Sierra Leone has been giving to other countries including Haiti when they had the earthquake, Somali and Sudan in terms of deploying Military and Police Personnel.
President Koroma asserted, “As we continue with the fight we have engaged our international partners including World Health Organisation and the West African Health Organisation”.
He also said he has spoken with United States President, Barrack Obama, the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and his other friends in Africa and have promised to support him.
Speaking further in a dull tone, he said the government six months initial response budget put together has a cost of about $25 million and that they have received $7.6Million and faced with a funding gap of about $18 million.
President Koroma stated that they have received a total of Le 12 Billion contributed from the private sectors and institutions.
The President said a team of government officials will go to Dubai for the purchases of twenty ambulances which will be airfreighted to the country which will help in the fight against the Ebola disease.
By Abibatu Kamara
Monday August 18, 2014